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tv   Newsline  PBS  September 18, 2015 7:00pm-7:31pm PDT

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glad you can join us for nhk "newsline." i'm ross mihara in tokyo. people in japan have witnessed history in the making. changes to the security policy the country has maintained for decades. members of the upper house have passed bills to expand the role of the self-defense forces and allow the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense. the full upper house convened minutes after midnight for the final vote. prime minister shinzo abe's coalition camp passed the bills with the support of three minor opposition parties. representatives of the ruling liberal democratic party say the legislation will strengthen the japan/u.s. security alliance, prevent war and increase safety. opposition lawmakers tried
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several tactics to delay the vote. filibusters, submitting no confidence and censure motions against the prime minister and his senior aides and walking at a snail's pace when casting a ballot. but their efforts failed to prevent the bills from becoming law. they waged fierce debates over the legislation. they said more debate was needed. some called the bills unconstitutional and said the legislation could drag the nation into foreign wars. >> translator: the legislation is needed to protect the people of japan and their peaceful way of life. and to prevent a war. i believe the legal basis for passing a peaceful country on to our children and future generations has been
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established. i am determined to continue pursuing proactive peace diplomacy and to make full preparations for any emergency. i will keep up my sincere efforts to give the public an explanation. >> translator: it is so regrettable that despite all objections, they didn't take the slightest thought of it and enacted the legislation. this has scarred japan's pacifism, constitutionalism and democracy. we hope to cooperate with other opposition parties and get a better result in the next election. then we will put this legislation to question.
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citizens opposing the legislation had been gathering around the clock in front of the diet. nhk world's nawaki makata was there. >> reporter: protesters braved bad weather. they waved banners and placards with slogans saying "no war" and "uphold the constitution." they watched the vote on their smartphones. thousands of protesters have continued rallying to make their voices heard just after the upper house approved the bills, the demonstrators chanted that they will never accept what they called the false vote. >> translator: they passed the bills even though so many people are opposed. they didn't pay any attention to the public.
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i'm afraid we will really go into war when those bills are in effect. >> translator: i'm just disappointed. when i think about the children in the future and what's going to happen to them, this is unbelievable. >> reporter: rally organizers say at least 40,000 people took part. police put numbers closer to 11,000 as of friday evening. naoki makita, nhk world, tokyo. prime minister abe has long wanted to enhance the country's defense as well as contribute more proactively to global peace. >> reporter: abe signaled his determination to tackle security policy reform soon after taking over as prime minister in 2012. he has been trying to find a way to allow japan to exercise the
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right to collective self-defense without violating the constitution. abe believes japan's security environment has grown more severe and that the country can no longer defend its people without international cooperation. past leaders had maintained that such acts were unconstitutional. >> translator: the constitution doesn't allow the use of the right to collective self-defense. >> reporter: last year, abe and his cabinet ministers decided to reinterpret the constitution. abe told the people it was necessary because japan's security environment had grown more severe. in may, abe and his cabinet ministers submitted the bills to the lower house to give the new policy a legal basis. the ruling and opposition parties engaged in a vigorous debate. >> translator: leaders of the opposition argued that the bills could be used to justify expanding sdf activities without limit.
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>> reporter: abe tried to downplay their concerns saying the activities of the sdf will be limited by strict new conditions. >> translator: the government believes that sending armed units to foreign territories with the intention of using force exceeds the minimum extent necessary test for self-defense, so that is not allowed by the constitution. >> reporter: the discussion became even more heated when three experts offered their views in the diet. all said they believed the legislation would be unconstitutional. opposition lawmakers called the deliberations insufficient. some said the bills are unconstitutional. at the lower house plenary session, most opposition lawmakers walked out in a show of protest, but the governing coalition has a two-thirds majority in the chamber.
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the bills passed the lower house and went to the upper chamber. >> reporter: the bills provoked a strong reaction among the public. protesters carried placards with messages such as "defend the constitution" and "we won't let any children be killed." >> experts are divided over the passage of the security bills. we asked two for their views on this issue before the bills were passed. kunihiko miyake is a former diplomat who supports the bills, and kyoji yanagisiwa is a former defense agency official who opposes them. first, we asked them about the right to collective self-defense. the position of previous governments was that japan did have this right but that the constitution did not allow it to
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be acted upon. >> collective self-defense is a concept stipulated in the united nations charter, and every single member of the united nations is entitled to exercise the right to individual as well as collective self-defense. unfortunately, the world is getting more and more unstable so in order to cope with that kind of situation, we have to be able to deter whatever attempts by nonpeaceful ones. >> translator: abe's government wants the enactment of the bills as the security situation is increasingly strained, and threats from china and north korea can't be ignored anymore. if the threat is that japan could come under attack, that's a matter of individual defense
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of our country, not collective self-defense. the sdf has been building up its experiences towards that end. >> the bills would expand the role of the self-defense forces in operations overseas. the two experts have different viewpoints. >> the use of weapons by the self-defense force's officers would not change the situation. when those civilians are in danger, it is the other side, the terrorists or the other armed forces, which took the initiative to attack. in that case, that's an illegal violation to international law. and why do we have to accept it? we have to respond. we have to protect those people and we have to protect ourselves. and they're using forces to attack us.
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and why can't we use weapons to respond? >> translator: protecting foreign troops and citizens, maintaining security and abolishing the notion of non-combat zones, all of these things would surely make it more dangerous for the self-defense forces and could force them to fire weapons. they would be completely different from what the japanese public has long believed. but this issue has never been debated in the diet. i think it's very irrational. >> earlier i spoke with nhk world's tomoko kamata. she's been following the issue from the beginning. we have been hearing that the legislation would lead to changes in japanese security policy. what are some concrete examples? >> the package expands the role of the self-defense forces in
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many ways but the biggest change, of course, is that japan can exercise their right to collective self-defense under certain conditions, specifically, the sdf can use force to defend other countries in a close relationship with japan, if the country came under attack. the legislation does not specifically mention the names of those countries, but government officials have referred to the united states, and if conditions are met, australia. back in 2006, i was covering u.s. naval forces japan, and the commander told me that japan's people, japanese people, should consider allowing the use of the right. he said the u.s. navy and japan's maritime self-defense force work side by side in many joint operations. he said that if sdf vessels could defend the u.s. navy, they
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could better counter missiles from north korea. u.s. leaders have repeatedly said they support abe's policy. abe even appeared before the u.s. congress in april and pledged the law would be enacted in this session of the diet. >> members of the opposition and some legal experts have said the bills violate japan's constitution, which specifically renounces war. how does the public view this? >> nhk conducted a survey last weekend and asked people whether they think the bills are constitutional or unconstitutional. 32% of the respondents said the bills violate the constitution. that was double the number that said they're not unconstitutional. we also asked respondents if they think there has been sufficient deliberation in the
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diet. just 6% said yes, while 58% said deliberations have been insufficient. prime minister abe extended the diet session by a record-long 95 days to help cement final passage. under an article of the constitution, it would have been possible to enact the bills based on the two-thirds majority approval in the lower house. in other words, it would have been enacted even if the upper house didn't hold a vote. but leaders decided not to make use of this provision. public protest has been spreading, and they apparently didn't want to give voters the impression that they had forced the bills through. abe has repeatedly said the legislation is essential for protecting people's lives, and he says it's necessary so japan can proactively contribute to regional and international peace
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and security. abe said aircraft scrambles by the sdf against planes of unknown nationality have increased by sevenfold in a decade. he appears to have had china on mind. abe and other members of the ruling coalition tried to build a strong case for this legislation, but nhk's latest poll suggests it may be difficult to say if they won over a majority of the public. china reacted immediately to the news from tokyo. the foreign minister released a statement saying the japanese military build-up goes against the trend of the times saying people suspect japan is defending the policy and
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abandoning the path of peace. nhk world has more from beijing. >> reporter: chinese government officials are keeping a close eye on japan's revamped security policy. they see it as a potential countermeasure to china's expanded maritime presence in east and southeast asia. chinese media has covered the diet deliberations on the bills. recently they focused on the huge rallies protesting against the security legislation held in japan. they often reported the voices of demonstrators in front of the diet building. last month, chinese foreign minister spoke about the deliberations on the bills when he met with reporters in kuala lumpur. he indicated he'd acknowledged that japan's security policy was about to change dramatically. >> translator: we're seeing a big change in japan's military and defense policies. it is causing a lot of concern, especially in neighboring countries.
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>> reporter: the chinese government is sure to carefully monitor the abe administration's moves after the bills become law. the u.s. government is welcoming the national security bills as it hopes to strengthen the japan/u.s. alliance. the u.s. assistant secretary of state for east asian and pacific affairs spoke about the bills in washington on tuesday. >> the expected passage of security legislation in the japanese diet this month will open the door to even greater japanese contributions to peace and security. >> he also said the u.s. government expects japan as an ally to expand the role of the self-defense forces so the two countries can work as equal partners on a global basis. a south korean expert says the country would have to give its permission before japan's self-defense forces could respond to a contingency on the peninsula or surrounding waters.
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>> translator: many south koreans still have strong feelings abo historical issues. it would be hard for them to accept the self-defense forces engaging in military activities on the peninsula. >> the head of the institute of japanese studies at the university says the security legislation could strengthen the japan/u.s. alliance and increase deterrence against north korea, but he warned japan's new security policy could also spur military expansion by north korea and china or even encourage an arms race in northeast asia.
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officials in china said the united states sent back one of their country's most wanted fugitives. they say this cooperation shows progress in relations. wang jing jun is a former company executive who stands accused of corruption. he spent 14 years on the run in the u.s. chinese officials included him in april in a list of 100 corrupt officials and others they want to bring home. they say he's the first they have got back from the u.s. they got him a few days before president xi jinping makes a state visit to the u.s. >> translator: the deportation is an important development in cooperation between china and the u.s. >> leaders in washington have outlined the stance they'll take when president xi meets them, they say they'll take a tough stand on chinese cyberattacks and the assertive actions at sea.
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the united states is considering the possibility of additional sanctions against north korea. a senior defense department official says it may be necessary if pyongyang goes ahead with its threat of launching a long-range ballistic missile. u.s. assistant secretary david shear made the comment to the senate armed services committee. >> and as we go forward toward a possible north korean missile launch, for example, we're going to be engaging our six-party partners, and we're going to be considering what extra pressure we might put on north korea should they decide to conduct that missile launch. >> earlier this week, the director of the north's aerospace agency hinted at the possibility of launching an upgraded long-range ballistic missile next month. october marks the 70th anniversary of the ruling worker's party. pyongyang has also announced
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that a nuclear complex has been revamped and put back into operation. u.s. secretary of state john kerry warned of severe consequences if pyongyang does not refrain from what he calls irresponsible provocations. gunmen have attacked a pakistani air base in peshawar in the country's northwest. patchari raksawong in bangkok is following the story. >> the gunmen killed at least 17 people at the air base. a spokesman for the pakistani taliban said the group was behind the offensive. it is the deadliest attack on a military facility this year. police say the insurgents stormed a mosque inside the base killing 16 people as they offered morning prayers. a captain also died while leading the counterattack. 13 of the gunmen were killed. >> translator: the taliban attacked the base. and the soldier who was in front of the bunker immediately opened fire. the army controlled the situation for well.
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>> the offensive is believed to be retaliation for a major operation by the army against insurgents in a mountainous area near afghanistan. last december, members of the pakistani taliban attacked a military run school in peshawar. at least 150 people, mostly students, died. the government responded by stepping up anti-terrorism measures. security authorities in thailand are investigating a bomb blitz that rocked eight locations in the southern most province. soldiers were among three people who died in the explosions late on thursday. police believe the attack is the work of islamic militants waging a campaign of terror in the south. the bombers targeted a temple, a post office ana train station in the province of naratiwa.
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security authorities on friday sifted through the evidence. police are investigating the possibility that muslim insurgents are responsible. they say there's no link to last month's bomb attacks in central bangkok. more than 6,500 people have died in terrorist attacks in southern thailand over the past 11 years. most thais are buddhist, but many people in the three southern provinces practice islam and some fiercely oppose the government's assimilation policy. fierce fighting has been raging in afghanistan between government troops and taliban insurgents. but the power of the islamic state group is now growing in the country. what's happening there? well, nhk world reports. >> reporter: more and more people are fleeing from villages near the border with pakistan into the city of jalalabad in eastern afghanistan. they are escaping from islamic state militants. and estimated 13,000 households have been displaced in the past
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six months. >> translator: islamic state militants attacked our neighbors' homes and took everything. >> translator: a bombing by the islamic state group killed our village leader so we fled here. >> reporter: this video was supposedly filmed by the islamic state group in eastern afghan province of kandahar which borders pakistan. regional islamic state groups have been taking control of communities in the province since the beginning of this year. >> reporter: internal divisions
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in the taliban form the backdrop to growing strength of islamic state militants in afghanistan. in july, the afghan government revealed that the taliban's supreme leader mullah omar died in 2013. the taliban later announced the new leader is mullah monsoon. but senior taliban members close to omar demanded that the selection of a new leader be carried out again sparking a fierce internal feud. experts say the taliban fighters joining the islamic state group don't have faith in the new leadership. >> translator: some taliban combatants joining the islamic state group switched sides after omar's death. if more of them follow suit, it will create a dangerous situation.
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>> reporter: this man is one of those displaced by islamic state violence. militants killed his younger brother. he fled with his brother's five children and 11 other members of his family to the home of a relative in jalalabad. >> translator: islamic state members said they wanted to talk with my brother, but they killed him instead. they killed or abducted many residents. >> translator: samiullah is most concerned about his relatives back in his home community. >> hello?
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>> translator: all i have are the clothes i'm wearing. i don't know what to do. >> reporter: turmoil is deepening in afghanistan. as well as the taliban, the country now faces the new threat of islamic state militants. fumio sagaya, nhk world, kabul. >> that wraps up our bulletin. i'm patchari raksawong in bangkok. here is the weekend weather forecast.
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that's all we have this hour on "newsline." thank you for watching, and have a good day.
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